Nutrition :: Get antioxidants from food, not supplements

Research fails to justify routine use of antioxidant supplements to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease, according to an American Heart Association science advisory published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“At this time, there is little reason to advise that individuals take antioxidant supplements to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., lead author of the association panel, and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University.

A review of research conducted on antioxidants between 1994 and 2002 showed that antioxidant supplements largely have no effect on preventing or treating cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association continues to promote a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, poultry and lean meats to derive antioxidant vitamin benefits.

”While the research shows that antioxidant supplements have no benefit, the role oxidative stress plays in the development and progression of heart disease has yet to be clarified,” Kris-Etherton said. ”We still know too little about the oxidative mechanisms in humans and lack biochemical markers with which to evaluate antioxidants.”

Ongoing studies should answer important questions about the role of oxidation in atherosclerosis, she said.

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